Physical Characteristics

Height: 19- 24 inches, depending on the sex. A female will be slightly smaller.

Weight: 45 – 70 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11-13 years. With proper care, your Dal could live as long as 15 or 16.

Markings: His most unique feature are his spots which are either black or chocolate brown, termed “liver.”

Head: Fair length, flat skull, proportionately broad between the ears.

Muzzle: Long and powerful with clean lips. Whiskers may be trimmed. His grin is amiable and clownish particularly noticeable on long walks or during play.

Eyes: Set moderately well apart and of medium size, round, bright, and sparkling with an intelligent expression. Color depends on markings. In the black-spotted variety, eyes should be dark brown or blue or black. In the liver-spotted variety, they should be lighter than in the black-spotted variety. They eyes are alert with an inbuilt twinkle showing his happy disposition.

Ears: Set high, of moderate size, and wide at the base and gradually tapering to a rounded point. They are especially sensitive to the sound of a can opener.

Nose: The black-spotted variety should always be black; liver-spotted variety, always brown. Should be wet and cold situated at just the right height to cause maximum embarrassment when used as a means of identifying human friends.

Neck and shoulders: Neck should be fairly long and nicely arched.

Legs and Feet: Forelegs should be straight with elbows close to the body; feet should be compact with well arched toes and tough pads. Dewclaws may be removed from legs.

Nails: In the black-spotted variety, nails can be black or white or a nail may be both black and white. In the liver-spotted variety, nails be can brown or white, or a nail may be both brown and white.

Tail: It should ideally reach the hock joint, strong at the insertion, and tapering toward the end. It is long and whip-like that can cause severe bruising of your shins if he catches you accidentally during full wag.

Coat: His coat is short, hard, dense, fine, sleek, and glossy in appearance.  Even though he sheds year round, there seem to be two high shedding seasons: spring to get rid of the winter coat and late fall when they shed out the summer coat and prepare for winter.

Regular brushing outdoors with a curry brush will help to minimize shedding. Normally he sheds white when you’re wearing black and black when you’re wearing white.  He doesn’t discriminate.

These physical characteristics are general standards. If you plan to show your dog, make sure to study carefully the Dalmatian Standard to understand the technical points, faults and disqualifications specified for the show ring.

photo credit Helen White Photography





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